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Southwest Airlines scrubs 160 flights after resuming "normal" schedule

Southwest flights near normal after holiday chaos
Southwest flights near normal after holiday chaos 01:49

Embattled air carrier Southwest Airlines again canceled dozens of flights after returning to a more regular flying schedule following a winter storm-related meltdown last week.

Southwest as of Monday afternoon had canceled 160, or 3%, of its flights, the most of any American airline, according to tracking site FlightAware.  Another 422, or 10% of its scheduled flights were delayed. The majority of disrupted flights were scheduled to fly in or out of Denver International Airport.

Last week, the Dallas-based carrier canceled thousands of flights every day, disrupting passengers' holiday travel plans. Although the airline blamed winter weather for the flight disruptions, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg insisted "the thousands of cancellations by Southwest in recent days have not been because of the weather."

"Other airlines that experienced weather-related cancellations and delays due to the winter storm recovered relatively quickly, unlike Southwest," he wrote in a letter to Southwest CEO Robert Jordan.

Southwest Airlines pilots union official describes how problems snowballed 03:39

Southwest scrapped fewer than 50 flights Friday as it rebounded from one of the most severe aviation industry breakdowns in recent years. But with a jump in the number of trips scuttled on Monday, passengers continued to gripe on Twitter. 

"@SouthwestAir can you provide a transparent update on your luggage reuniting efforts? Over a week now with no updates. The form is gaslighting and an extremely dishonest attempt to appease," one frustrated customer tweeted. 

In a tweet responding to a customer inquiring about missing luggage, Southwest said Monday it remains "inundated with baggage to reunite with their owners."

A spokesperson for Southwest said the airline is "operating a normal schedule" Monday and that it's "pleased" with its performance over the past few days. 

Passenger releases joyful outburst after finding lost luggage 01:16

The spokesperson attributed the "minimal cancelations," out of 4,000 scheduled  flights, to "weather in several areas, including fog earlier this morning in Chicago, and heavy snow in Denver."

A fierce winter storm bringing snow, sleet and freezing rain has triggered National Weather Service warnings from the Rockies into the upper Mississippi Valley.

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